My Job in 5: Lynda Cooper
Lynda Cooper, Lecturer in Publishing, is at the helm of this week's My Job in 5 detailing her role working with students at the University of Plymouth.
DESCRIBE YOUR ROLE
As Lecturer in Publishing at the University of Plymouth, I work across our BA and MA Publishing degrees. Apart from giving lectures and tutorials, there is also lots of research, planning and marking in the background. To keep our courses current, I spend time reviewing industry trends, and helping students to make industry contacts and investigate employment options too.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT YOUR ROLE?
I love working with our students – they are passionate, talented and knowledgeable, and it is a privilege to inform and inspire them about the publishing industry. The campus itself is a fantastic place to be; we have one of the only working letterpresses in the country, and the publishing team is based within the School of Art Design and Architecture, so there’s a very creative vibe. It is great having to stay close to new developments as well – my background is in digital publishing so I am always looking for ways to weave this into the modules. Plus, as anyone who knows me will testify, I do like a captive audience!
WHAT NEW PROJECTS OR TITLES ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
We are in the process of finalising our plans for the next academic year, so I am working closely with colleagues to pin down details for each course. I am particularly excited about a brand new module called 'The Power of Publishing', which will focus on some of the ways in which publishing has changed history. It will be a chance to engage with topics such as sustainability, diversity and gender equality, and I know the students will get really fired up – we're just debating the final reading list now.
WHAT SKILLS DO YOU NEED FOR YOUR ROLE?
Working knowledge of the industry is essential. Aside from that, I need confidence to deliver lectures clearly, and the creativity to make them interesting. As with any job, good organisation and flexibility help too.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THOSE LOOKING TO WORK IN THE INDUSTRY?
I get to answer this question most days! There are lots of possible responses, but my favourite is: be interested in the business of publishing. It's a commercial enterprise, so you need to become informed about the industry as a whole in order to deliver profitability for your authors and company. That means understanding sales models, routes to market, rights and digital opportunities as well as loving books and magazines (although that still helps). And of course I'd recommend taking a degree in publishing, too!